Get To Know Us!
Abbotsford Christian Home School Community (Association)
ACHSA is a community group for Christian home schooling families in the Fraser Valley. We are one of the largest home school groups in Canada, with over 100 families, and growing each year. Families join us from Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Aldergrove, Langley, and even as far as Aggasiz.
Our goal is to provide support, prayer, opportunities, and friendships as we educate our children. Our members join together for a number of events which have included field trips, our annual Used Home School Curriculum Sale, TLC, Park Days, Mom's Events and special events.
ACHSA exists to connect and encourage families with children registered or enrolled for preschool, elementary, middle and high school. Each family choosing the correct style of home education that is best for their family.
If you are considering home schooling, attending an event is the best way to a see what we're all about. Check out our calendar for our next scheduled gathering or click the "be our guest" button and send us an email.
Free Trial Membership - Current Summer
- Family Membership: September - August of the current year - $30.00
- Please do not let the membership fee prevent you from joining ACHSA. If it is a problem, please contact Shelley Hammersmark
- Fees are NOT pro-rated for the year if joined partway through the current year.
- All membership fees are non-refundable.
- Annual family membership is from September 1, of the current year to August 31, of the following year
- Membership is necessary for any family members to participate in TLC, be included in our e-chain, be a part of our private Facebook group, be listed in our family directory, participate in any youth events, and in any other ACHSA sponsored events.
- If paying by e-transfer, please send payment to [email protected]. Be sure to send us the password too!
- If paying by cash or cheque, please arrange payment with Shelley Hammersmark.
Benefits of Membership
Benefits (subject to volunteers)
- Field Trips
- Graduation / prom
- Teen Nights
- Christmas Party
- Prayer Support
- Community / friendship
- Marketplace / classifieds
- Park Days
- Private Facebook and Instagram page
- Information on Homeschool Opportunities
- Fall Kick Off Event
- Minecraft Server
- Curriculum Sale
We moved our monthly meetings to Emmanuel Free Reformed church off Mount Lehman where we met for many years!
Led by a Cooperative leadership group of Loree Raine, Marilyn Schroeder, Val Van Hamelin, Wendy Livingstone, Debbie Bittner We ran ACHSA for many years!
We had a portable library unit made for ACHSA and it serviced our treasured library books for almost 20 years!
In the past the most popular month of the year was our February Dessert Night - a Valentine date night, held every year for our February Meeting. This was when we had a Mom and her husband host a table by decorating it and using their best dishes! They would personally invite other ACHSA Homeschool Moms and their husbands to join them. The ACHSA leadership team would have entertainment for the evening, including Homeschool student performances like a choir or a skit; guest speakers.
This is the history of TLC as written by Wendy Livingstone
- Loree Raine remembers, as does Jo-Ann Dykstra and her daughter Chrystelle, a Co-op that preceded TLC, at 7 Oaks Alliance Church, in about 1993. Maybe started by the founders of ACHSA – Judy & Tim Teer. There was a woodworking class that Peter Dykstra taught, and a sewing class (Chrystelle still has the bunny she made!)
- The initial impetus to develop our own Learning Center was Debra Bell’s book The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling which was only published in 1997
- Loree Raine, Marilyn Schroeder, and Val Van Hamelin were the gals that started The Learning Center
- The book described a Learning Center that impressed Marilyn, so much that she had to tell Loree, who immediately cast the vision for it and said, “Marilyn, why couldn’t we do that?” They immediately asked Val to join forming a planning committee and that got the ball rolling. (planning 1997 – and the first TLC 1998)
- The first Learning Center was held at 7 Oaks Alliance Church, in 1998.
- The Learning Center moved to South Abbotsford Mennonite Church and continued there for 3 years
- We moved to Evangelical Free Church on Marshall for 2 years
- We moved to Northview for about 8 years, to 2011 (we had to move when the renovations actually demolished the classrooms we were using!)
- We have been at New Life – ever since!
Memories of TLC from the Original Planning Committee
Planning sessions were usually held at Marilyn’s home!
- (Wendy) "I was a part of all but one TLC – I skipped the 1999 session because Daniel was born in Oct. 1998 - I had 7 children and not enough sleep that year!"
- (Marilyn) "It was a life-giving program for Marilyn (and most of us) that I thoroughly loved and enjoyed. To see so many moms jump in with great enthusiasm was such a blessing."
- Reflecting back on it, Marilyn wondered if this was the fulfillment of a prophetic word she received at one of our ACHSA retreats where, in the Bible, the daughter of Caleb (her name was Achsah) was given the upper and lower springs. (ACHSA and Acsah – are pronounced the same – that is the connection)
- Another part of that fulfillment would be the Homeschool prayer meetings that started in Marilyn’s home and continues to this day. That was where she received a huge downpour of the Holy Spirit through the faithful witness and prayers of Parin Kanani. (Muslim turned Christian – her children are both Christians and her son’s name means “The Sword that divides the Family” – her husband had been ordered to have her killed, but he loved her and let her move to Canada – you have to hear Parin’s testimony – it is Awesome!)
- "It’s nice for the women to have ‘older’ experienced homeschoolers around for their encouragement." (Marilyn meant Wendy & Jo-Ann!)
- A strong memory that stands out is Loree bringing in “Australian prickly walking sticks” (bugs!) which got a picture of her and 2 students in the local newspaper!
- I also remember Wendy, teaching Etiquette and having an exciting party at the end; that we treated as a “Graduation” of sorts, at the Copper Room, at Harrison Hot Springs Hotel and we always included dancing. (The Etiquette Class was Linda Zupanzik’s brainchild) I remember having the old people in the restaurant, start off by scowling at our group as we were seated, then they stayed to see what the group was, and actually came up to me, later, and commenting on this having been the nicest group of young people they had ever seen! “Church group, right?” “Nope – Christian Homeschoolers!”
- Sharon Dyck did some nice woodworking with the boys and I (Marilyn) have one of those framed mirrors hanging in our cabin in Osoyoos.
- JoAnn Dykstra did a session on drafting which really excited Marilyn’s eldest who went on to graduate from CTC in the drafting program. Jo-Ann also did finger painting for years with most of our littles!
- June Isaak had a popular yeast baking class and that gave many a young man (as well as young women) a love for cooking.
- Joan Trachuk’s Pysanky eggs
- Sandra Frazier’s guitar class
- Wendy’s Legal Quest! That included Mock Trials, and a day/field trip to the Surrey courthouse, and wearing all the fancy robes from the courthouse to play the parts for our Mock Trial, using an actual courtroom! (FYI - There is a school liaison with Surrey Justice Hill, and it can be arranged!)
- Val Van Harmelen taught “Dissection” classes; pig’s heart, cow’s eye, a fish and a frog! And Val had a final exam for the students to write!
- The hardest part of all was reassuring the women that they could do it! I just loved seeing them move from insecurity and fear to presenting a great well-planned class.
- Our coffee times were excellent for stimulation and encouragement. So many good talks!
- Marilyn remembers getting Aaron jammed in the elevator and having the church call out the repair guy. She was shaken up because so many weird negative things had been happening to her family over a period of months. As soon as she walked into the coffee room, the women listened to her concerns and Louise Welsh (our coffee-lady-extraordinaire) immediately jumped up and started praying over her. Such a blessing that was.
- There were very few conflicts and we always felt that homeschool mothers were the godliest women around. We all needed to keep clinging to Jesus!
- We have always had a Picnic Wrap-up for TLC